WASHINGTON -- The NHL's second-highest scoring team during the regular season is finding out that scoring against the Washington Capitals is not as easy as it used to be.
As the Capitals and Boston Bruins prepare for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC), the Caps are a confident bunch embracing coach Dale Hunter's system.
The Bruins are searching for ways not only to beat goalie Braden Holtby, but also to get pucks past any Washington players throwing their bodies in front of oncoming rubber.
Holtby has turned aside 72 of 74 shots for a .973 save percentage, while his teammates have combined to block 49 others.
"Every team in the playoffs comes out of their comfort zone and they know what they have to do extra," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It's not surprising. It's just that the commitment is there and they've got a good commitment as far as [shot blocking] is concerned right now. [The] New York [Rangers are] probably the team that we can identify as the team blocking the most shots [in the regular season], but now everyone is jumping on board with that."
Washington's commitment to defense has the Bruins on the verge of their lowest three-game offensive output of the year. Only once during the regular season did the Bruins score fewer than five goals combined in any three-game stretch (Boston was held to four goals in three games from Dec. 5-8).
Through two games against the Capitals, the Bruins have been held to just two goals. None of Boston's top-six forwards have found the back of the net.
"They definitely surprised us," said Boston's No. 1 center, David Krejci. "We all know that they're a great team offensively, but they showed us in the last two games that they can also play really good hockey defensively. So we were looking at those last two games, working on a few things, and we hope that it works tonight."